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How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog (2001)

Kenneth Branagh , Robin Wright , Michael Kalesniko  |  R |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Kenneth Branagh, Robin Wright, Suzi Hofrichter, Lynn Redgrave, Jared Harris
  • Directors: Michael Kalesniko
  • Writers: Michael Kalesniko
  • Producers: Amanda Nelligan, Avi Lerner, Brad Weston, Danny Dimbort, John Thompson
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Live / Artisan
  • DVD Release Date: March 26, 2002
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005Y6XC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #385,872 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog" on IMDb

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hooray for marketing! April 24, 2002
If it weren't for the title of this film, I'm almost certain I would never have picked it up off the shelf at my local video store.
The story surrounds Kenneth Branagh (of Dead Again fame), who is a struggling playright, trying vainly to come up with a new play. He's hampered by multiple problems: writer's block, new neighbors, his huge previous successes, his wife (played excellently by Robin Wright --- of The Princess Bride movie) wanting to have a child, and -- to put icing on the cake -- a new dog next door that barks incessantly for most of the evening.
This movie is loaded with both crude and touching humor. The scene where Kenneth goes to visit his doctor for a check of his prostate still stands out in my mind! And when Kenneth fights with his wife (Wright) about having children, and he keeps farting in bed (to avoid having sex) prior to her coming into the bedroom, are significant and well acted.
The ending is both poignant and funny, a rare combination that hollywood has trouble finding. The neighbor kid, Amy (played by a TREMENDOUS little actor named Suzi Hofrichter) has some amazing screen time with Kenneth and Robin and her ending scene can bring tears to even the shallowest of hearts.
In the end, this movie will make you laugh, cry and wonder about the human nature of men, women and kids and how we affect one another on a daily basis. Fun. Watch it.
Rated: A+
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
'How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog' is exactly a kind of film that some lucky audiences pick up at a rental video store by chance, but whose existence many people still don't know even though Robert Redford is executive producer. Or is it that he is not famous any more?

But flawed as it is, 'How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog' is so witty and charming thanks to the stars Kenneth Branagh and Robin Wright Penn. One merit is that Branagh plays Peter, who is a playwriter for stage, is an Englishman in LA, and is deliciously cynical. No actor is suitable for the role, and he gives one of his best performances on screen. And this playwright is in a slump; for all his fame (of the past years) and confidence, he cannot write good characters and dialogues, especially those of a 10-year-old child in his upcoming play.

And Peter's wife is Melanie played by Robin Wright Penn (in a black wig). She wants a baby, but her husband is not so willing. In between their frustrated relations steps a cute girl Amy (Suzi Hofrichter) who moved into their neighborhood with her mother.

While Amy comes to get closer to Melanie and Peter, they also come to know the little girl. There are many eccentric characters (this film is partly about the stage); Jonathan Scharch as stage actor in Peter's play, Jared Harris as 'false' Peter, and Lynn Redgrave as Peter's mother-in-law who keeps forgetting that she is Peter's mother-in-law. And look for uncredited cameo of Daniel Stern at party scene.

The story itself is nothing exceptional. It is the round characters that are exceptional in 'How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog' and the gifted actors playing them effectively.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't Let the Title Put You Off September 8, 2002
First of all, the biggest obstacle to enjoying and appreciating this movie is the fact that the title alone is going to keep it out of most people's hands. Let's face it, when the average, discerning viewer browsing the local video store shelves comes across one called "How To Kill Your Neighbor's Dog," it immediately gets mentally shuffled into the mindbox right alongside such obtuse fare as the consummately repugnant and forgettable "Surf Nazis Must Die," (which, by the way, is a title I never thought would issue forth from my fingertips for any reason whatsoever, but it happens to work here) or the likes. I mean, slapping on such a designation is like insisting on a strike three call with the first pitch when you're the batter. Then again, there's that old saying about judging a film by it's cover. Take "Office Space," for example; who in a million years would have expected something as entertaining and insightful from Mike Judge, the guy who gave the world Beavis and Butthead, for crying out loud? (Still, in retrospect, Beavis and Butthead wasn't half bad...). The point is, writer/director Michael Kalesniko did himself a major disservice with his title, which may have been a shock value attempt to grab some attention that didn't really work out. But if you can overcome what for most will surely be an entirely understandable prejudice against this one, you'll be in for a treat. And in the final analysis, it points up the wisdom of not dismissing any movie out-of-hand.
Hollywood denizen Peter McGowan (Kenneth Branagh) is a successful playwright, but in the show biz tradition of "what have you done for me lately?" he is having trouble getting his latest play off to a running start. Rehearsals have begun, but even director Brian Sellars (David Krumholtz) can't seem to find the magic.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Searching for jems takes some work. October 27, 2005
Originally saw "How To Kill Your Neighbor's Dog" when director Michael Kalesniko brought it to the Kansas City Film Festival.

He was trying to get word of mouth working for the film, as (from what he said) was the studio refusing to release it unless he changed the title.

Now I've had difficulty recommending this jem to some people, because as soon as I mention the title...

But it is an exceptional little film. Crisp writing. Tight, witty dialogue. And really funny bits.

Kenneth Branagh & Robin Wright Penn stand out brilliantly as the featured couple. Other actors shine in smaller parts. But the work of Suzi Hofrichter as the new neighbor's daughter will really win you over.

One might quibble that filming what is supposed to be Los Angeles in Vancouver, Canada is a stretch (can you really see your breath at night in L. A.?), one can easily overlook that mismatch. Because the film is terrific.

It may not have seen wider release, but you'd do better buying "How To Kill Your Neighbor's Dog" than renting anything Adam Sandler has ever produced.

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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great movie
Well, as movies are obviously subjective take this for what its worth. If you don't like this movie you might be happier with the fast and the furious or some other brainless... Read more
Published 8 months ago by J. Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars "I met a man yesterday with a grown son. He told me, looking back, he...
In writer/director Michael Kalesniko's HOW TO KILL YOUR NEIGHBOR'S DOG, Branagh is an LA-based playwright who was hot in the '80s but has written only flops recently. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Annie Van Auken
2.0 out of 5 stars A Not Very Funny Comedy
I am a big fan of Branagh, especially, of course, his Shakespere. I came across this oddity, while scouring the Amazon list for Branagh DVDs. Read more
Published 12 months ago by The Wizard
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Gift
I had this shipped as a Christmas gift for my father and his girlfriend. Funny story, they were having problems with their neighbor's dog. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Jason Hood
5.0 out of 5 stars Really nice
I really like Kenneth Branagh so I bought this movie. It is a good movie and his wry humor is a treat.
Published 16 months ago by Betty Garland
5.0 out of 5 stars How to kill your neighbors dog
It was just about the funniest movie I have ever seen. It is definitely one that will be a keeper.
Published 18 months ago by bigsprucer
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be much better known than it is!
My second review of this film. A funny, charming, poignant film about a self-involved writer's journey to becoming his better self, a MENSCH. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Stancy Merwin
5.0 out of 5 stars "I met a man yesterday with a grown son. He told me, looking back, he...
In writer/director Michael Kalesniko's HOW TO KILL YOUR NEIGHBOR'S DOG, Branagh is an LA-based playwright who was hot in the '80s but has written only flops recently. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Annie Van Auken
5.0 out of 5 stars I didn't do it!
What not a shakespeare movie,Kenneth Branagh is great actor and derictor.
Robin Wright Pen is great,finally another actress he works well with! Read more
Published on April 14, 2012 by Thomas A. Warberg
3.0 out of 5 stars How to kill your neighbor's dog
This movie was recommended by a friend.
I anticipated it's arrival, when it came and I watched it, I thought it was kind of cute, but at times, the humor felt rather strained. Read more
Published on November 27, 2011 by Leon Guyot
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